Before I started working for a news organization, I ignored the world. I ignored discrimination, politics and mass shootings. I ignored natural disasters and how they tore apart thousands of families around the world. I ignored the news updates of fraud and political injustice. I wouldn’t let myself think about it, because if I wasn’t thinking about it, it wasn’t real.
I enjoyed living in my little bubble. After 20 years in the bubble, I felt safe. I had virtually no opinions and no conflict. Then came time for my first opinion piece with the Scroll. I had to pick something newsworthy in the world and write my opinion on it. But there was a problem — I didn’t have any opinions. I had turned a blind eye to news for so long, I wasn’t sure what I felt about what was going on in the world or how I thought it could be improved. Slowly I came to the realization that I had been disarming myself and being an unproductive citizen by not caring or taking the time to consume news.
Now more than ever, millennials need to care. We need to know what is going on in the world. We need to pray about it and seek understanding. Even though it seems impossible, one voice can make all the difference for change.
As BYU-Idaho students, we all have access to a free subscription to The Wall Street Journal. Have the app on your phone. Read an article a week. The school pays hundreds of dollars for this underused resource so we can be informed members of society.
A few people have given the Scroll feedback and said we should cover lighter topics more often instead of bringing light to issues in Rexburg like domestic abuse, rape and theft. I used to be in your camp, too. I wished there was more positive news in the world, instead of a spotlight on fear and sadness. While reading about these things may make us feel more unsafe, it is also making us aware and giving us the knowledge we need to protect ourselves. Ignorance is only bliss until something happens to us or someone we love because we ignored the warning signs.
God has asked us to “study things out in (our) minds and in (our) hearts” and to “seek truth.” This applies to gospel truths as well as politics, science and academics. The Church does not endorse a specific political party, but encourages members to actively participate in local and national government. In order to be a productive member of society, we need to know what is happening in society.
Martin Luther King Jr., Malala, Ghandi and Mother Teresa wouldn’t have been able to make a difference if they didn’t engage in what was happening around them. As you obey God’s word to study things out in your mind and heart, you will be blessed with an increase of understanding. When awful things happen in the world, we can prepare to act instead of being acted upon.